Symptoms and Causes of Fall Allergies – and How to Treat Them Quickly

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If you’ve ever had to deal with allergies of any kind, you know how painful they can be. Seasonal allergies can be especially annoying and uncomfortable when you just want to enjoy your morning run or afternoon walk with your dog.

If you think you are clear once you get past spring when so many flowers are in bloom, unfortunately I am here to deliver some bad news. Fall allergies are also a thing, and their symptoms can be as devastating as at any other time of the year. (Ugh.)

In fact, more than two-thirds of people with springtime allergies experience the misery of their symptoms year-round, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. So if you start sniffling in early spring, the annoying news is that the choking could continue into fall (and, ahem, beyond).

What are the causes of fall allergies?

The main difference between fall and other seasonal allergies is in outdoor triggers like ragweed pollen, something that is not in the air until fall (usually late August each time). that your area experiences winter frosts), says Purvi Parikh, MD, allergist-immunologist with Allergy & Asthma Network in New York City.

Mold can also be present in the air at higher concentrations when leaves fall during this time. Plus, it can grow on piles of fallen leaves that you find outdoors.

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What are the symptoms of fall allergies?

Allergy symptoms in the fall are quite similar to those in any other time of year. Here’s what to watch out for:

  • Cough. With allergies, you will usually experience a dry cough, says Dr. Parikh. If your cough wakes you up or prevents you from sleeping at night, see a licensed doctor, as you could develop allergic asthma, a form of asthma caused by allergies.
  • Itchy and watery eyes. Usually both eyes will be affected and may also swell, or the skin under the eyes may turn dark due to the congestion.
  • Nasal symptoms. You may have a stuffy or runny nose, as well as sneezing and itchy nose, says Dr. Parikh.
  • Sore throat. The secretions can run from your nose to the back of your throat, causing post-nasal drip, as well as pain or itching in the throat.
  • Skin irritation. Fall allergens can irritate the skin and cause itching like eczema or hives.
  • Ear irritation. Clogged ears, ear pain, and itchy ears are also common with fall allergies.
  • Breathing problems. “A lot of people don’t realize that the most common form of asthma is allergic asthma,” says Dr. Parikh. “If you suffer from coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, chest pain, or chest tightness, you probably have allergic asthma and I recommend that you see a doctor or see a doctor as soon as possible.”

    How are falls allergies diagnosed?

    It is important to seek out a certified allergist not only to make sure that you are taking the right approach to treatment, but also so that they can perform allergy tests to confirm exactly what you are allergic to and to rule out any. ‘other potential illnesses. . An allergist may also prescribe prescription drugs if over-the-counter treatments have not been shown to be effective enough.

    A certified allergist will likely perform a skin test or a standard blood test called an IgE test to detect antibodies for individual allergens. Your doctor may also perform a breath test to determine if your cough is due to asthma versus a post-nasal drip or some other cause.

    “Make sure your allergist is a licensed allergy and immunology specialist, because many unreliable tests exist and you don’t want to be diagnosed with an allergic reaction if you aren’t,” says Dr. Parikh. You want to make sure you are being treated for the right condition, of course.

    What are the best treatments for fall allergies?

    • Antihistamine eye drops, pills and nasal sprays. These are generally an effective treatment option for eye and nasal symptoms, with nasal steroids and nasal antihistamines often being the most effective.
    • Nasal corticosteroids. These reduce swelling in the nose to target symptoms such as congestion. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America calls them “the most effective drugs for nasal allergies.”
    • Prescription inhalers. If you have allergic asthma, it is worth seeing an allergist who can potentially prescribe an inhaler to help relieve symptoms.
    • Prescription creams. If you have a rash or itchiness, there are various over-the-counter topical corticosteroid creams and Rx that can treat the rash depending on the severity of your symptoms.
    • Allergen immunotherapy. This is the best way to reduce allergies over time and minimize symptoms by making you less allergic. Allergen immunotherapy involves exposing yourself to larger amounts of allergens to desensitize or cause your immune system to stop being allergic over time, says Dr. Parikh. These are done by injection or by tablets placed under the tongue. Your doctor can help you determine if this is a good option for you.

      Dr Parikh recommends avoiding oxymetazoline treatments such as Afrin, as they could trigger a cycle of congestion, which would make you more congested later, along with other side effects.

      How can I manage my fall allergies on my own?

      Besides taking allergy medication as suggested by your doctor, one of the other treatments is allergy avoidance, says Dr. Parikh. Basically, it’s about reducing your exposure to allergens so you don’t constantly trigger symptoms. Here are some impactful activities you can do every day:

      • Avoid peak pollen periods outdoors. Early morning, for example, is when outdoor pollen counts tend to be highest, while late afternoon and evening are best if you tend to experience symptoms of allergens. current exteriors.
      • Keep your windows closed. Not only will this help keep pollen out of your home, but keeping your air conditioner in “recirculation” or filter-only mode can help reduce the amount of pollen and other allergens you breathe in, helping you breathe more. easily. and comfortably.
      • Change clothes and take a shower immediately when you get home from an outdoor workout. This will ensure that you have flushed all the pollen out of your body, which will help reduce the risk of a symptom rash.
      • Try an air purifier. If you also suffer from allergies inside, you can try a HEPA air purifiers to fight mold and animal dander (pollen and dust mites are too small to filter out). For dust mites, you can get dust mite covers for bedding, vacuum frequently, or forgo carpeting altogether if possible.
      • Reduce inflammation. Your diet matters too. Alcohol and processed foods can make allergies worse by increasing inflammation in your body. Therefore, reducing your intake and consuming them in moderation can give you some relief, says Dr. Parikh.

        What can I do if allergens or other air quality issues are particularly prevalent in my community?

        Unfortunately, where you live can play a role in how air quality issues are handled publicly, leading some communities to be more susceptible to allergies. “There are known disparities between black and Latin populations for allergies as well as asthma,” says Dr. Parikh. “The ability of individuals to eliminate environmental triggers of allergies and access effective treatment is lower in these communities. ”

        There is also a genetic component in that if you develop allergies your child is 50 percent more likely to develop an allergy as well, meaning that communities with higher rates of asthma and allergies are more likely to develop an allergy. likely to pass them on to their children and contribute to that growth, says Dr Parikh.

        If you believe you are facing an environmental problem that is beyond your control and affecting your physical health, organizations such as Earth Justice and We Act for Environmental Justice can provide you with resources and information.

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